A lot of these mid-century curtains and drapes were wild
These (sometimes hilariously) vintage window coverings were manufactured by dozens of major retailers to appear in mid-century homes. The variety of curtains & drapes options appealed to residents of many different income levels… and those with vastly different design aesthetics.
Whether you’re inspired or amused by the following retro gallery of curtain designs, the expert hanging advice we found from this era is timeless and remains useful to this day!
Expert advice on curtains and drapes: Good looks are built-in and pre-planned (1965)
Mid-century window decor tips from American Home – June 1965
Hardly a week goes by without a letter that reads: “No matter how hard I try, my rooms never look as pretty as the ones you show in your magazine.”
Experts agree that the worst trouble spots in most rooms are the windows, the sofa, and the coffee table.
Sofa pillows sink down into a dispirited mass, coffee table tops are a lackluster assortment of objects. Curtains and draperies, they find, are usually skimpy, often too long or too short for perfect fit.
Our window-treatment expert is Denny Carter of Conso Products, Inc. Says she, “Be sure your window shades hang level and even at all your windows. Always buy an extra pair of curtains; the fuller they hang, the better.”
If you want draperies with a trim, tailored look like ours, pin each pleat vertically at the bottom hem. Tie together carefully with a light cord and let “set” for four to five days.
Tie-back draperies must be weighted along entire hemline, with heavier weights in the corners.
Fabric valances and swags like these are easier to keep clean than fabric-covered wooden ones.
Cafe curtains are easy to hang, easily maintained. Weighted hems help. Just steam the ball fringe over a kettle of water to ensure fluffiness.
Vintage curtain rod finial styles (1969)
Semi-sheer tie-back drapes over matching cafe curtains (1965)
Frilly calico floral print short and cafe curtains (1966)
Three retro window treatments from the 60s, including mini awnings
Black and white double window treatments from the 1970s
Combine two dull widely spaced windows into one eye-catcher! Use a black and white print defined in two ways: with ribbon for trim and tiebacks, and with gleaming brass for curtain rods.
Colorful vintage drop pattern mod 1960s curtains
Fiberglas fabric drapes in three decorator shades over white sheer curtains (1960)
Dramatic red tie-back curtains from the 1960s
Bright and cheerful batik-style curtains in pink on white
Flowered tie-back window treatments (1966)
One big splash of color underfoot, rising upward through the intricacies of a multiflowered fabric to reach a neat finale in a painted curtain pole.
Retro curtain designs from the 60s: Multicolored vertical stripes
Decorative trimmings from the 60s to glam up your curtain designs
Triple play window treatment for a retro bathroom (1967)
Here, a green window blind and cafe curtains are covered with swag curtains.
White and light frilled window curtains from 1965
Two-thirds height curtains with leafy vines and ferns (1964)
Nature’s wealth at work in your home. Here, leafy vines and ferns inspire a graceful design for draperies. Weaving the fabric with Celanese acetate gives a distinctive texture that goes perfectly with the native wood beams.
Shown: Mead & Montague’s screen print — available in orange and beige, black and smoke, pink and honey, blue & green, and olive & gold.
Retro kitchen cafe curtains with window blinds above
Vintage wide window curtains and drapes with bold edge color (1970s)
Frilly pink lacy curtains (1960)